PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ed and Pam Sullivan lost their son Trevor in a motorcycle crash 3 years ago, just days after he arrived in Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.
It’s a nightmare the Portland couple has been re-living everyday as they work to prove their son’s crash was more than just a simple accident.
“We knew we were being lied to,” Ed told KOIN 6 News. “As a parent, you just know. All the things that happened didn’t add up.”
On September 3, 2013, Trevor was riding his motorcycle on an onramp to the Santa Monica freeway in Los Angeles when he was killed. The California Highway Patrol concluded Trevor, 24, swerved his motorcycle, hit the onramp curb and crashed.
Several people called 911 to report what had happened.
“There’s a very bad motorcyclist who just got in an accident,” one woman said.
“I believe a car hit a motorcycle,” another 911 caller reported.
But only one caller got a clear view of the incident.
“I’m on the freeway right now,” the man said. “One motorcycle weaving and merging through the lines to the freeway, he just flipped it on the floor, I mean the street.”
The Sullivans believe that 911 caller is a man named Yong Sung Kim. They filed a wrongful death suit against the Korean immigrant who they believe was driving a white car that sideswiped Trevor’s motorcycle.
“I didn’t have a white car at the time,” Kim said in a deposition for the lawsuit. “I don’t know how to put this, but to me, I’m sorry to say this, but the person on the motorcycle looked kind of drunk. It doesn’t seem to me normal.”
But investigative records show Trevor had not been drinking. His parents didn’t believe Kim’s story and said his account of what happened that day ended up changing several times.
“Kim realized he’d been seen and called 911 to control the narrative and plant a story,” Ed said. “He never asked for them to send help. He never says, ‘Trevor’s hurt,’ and at the end of his recording he goes ‘Do you want me to go over to him, ’cause I just stopped?’ trying to make it seem like he had never been over to Trevor.”
Ed said in Kim’s witness statement, he claimed to have rushed over to the aid of the motorcyclist. But his story changed again when the Sullivans deposed him. That time he allegedly said he never interacted with Trevor because it was too crowded.
“There’s just lie upon lie,” Ed said. “The truth is, Kim was not there. He fled the scene. Even the firemen didn’t see him and they arrived long before the police did.”
One of the other witnesses told a CHP investigator he was also suspicious of an Asian man he said he saw at the scene of the crash.
“I didn’t see a car hit him, the only car that is close I remember was a white 4-door and the driver of that just stopped and he kept saying, ‘Oh, we didn’t hit him. Nobody hit him all he did was hit the meridian,'” Ashton Proctor said. “In my opinion, that guy was acting just a little bit too weird. He just kept stressing the fact there was nobody near him and he just flipped over on his own.”
The Sullivans hired a retired Oregon State Police expert in accident reconstruction to help crack the case. His report concluded Trevor’s motorcycle was struck by another car, and nothing indicated the motorcycle ever hit or came close to hitting the curb.
Court records show the CHP’s expert found no evidence the motorcycle hit the curb.
Trevor’s parents said they feel the CHP dropped the ball in its investigation into the crash, most likely because the department is overworked. Now the couple believes the CHP is embarrassed by what they have uncovered.
Thanks to Pam’s experience as a paralegal and Ed’s determination, they’ve gotten witnesses on the record and are moving forward in their case against Kim.
But the couple still has many questions about what happened that day. They still don’t know what happened to Trevor’s money and cell phone.
“The CHP told us Trevor’s phone was destroyed in the collision and they weren’t getting any read on it,” Pam said.
But she said data provided by Trevor’s cell phone company showed someone was turning his phone on and off from nearby locations in the days after he died. Ed and Pam believe someone was trying to learn what happened to Trevor, and whether police were suspicious about how he died.
“We were giving police information, helping them to solve this,” Ed said. “What they were doing was laughing at us, playing us for fools.”
KOIN 6 News reached out to the CHP and Kim’s lawyers for interviews, but did not hear back.
In court papers, Kim’s lawyers accuse the Sullivans of relying on “delusional claims that the CHP and Kim are conspiring to conceal [Trevor’s] death.”
Kim’s lawyers claim there is a “total lack of evidence linking [him] to liability.”
The Sullivans will take their case to court on January 9.